Crop Adventure

AgriNews photo/Jeannine Otto It’s not just about growing the crop, it’s about getting it in from the field. A hands-on demonstration of a grain elevator gives students the opportunity to get a larger-than-life look at kernels of “corn” — an activity as they load the kernels onto a conveyor that takes them into a bin. Presentations about yield help guests get a better idea of how many bushels farmers can grow. 

“If you look over on this wall, you’ll see that we have a live population counter. That is keeping track of how many people are alive on Earth right now,” guide Chris Deer said.

“In the time that you guys have been in here, over 342 people have been born, by the time you leave, likely over 1,000 people will have been born,” said Deer of the counter, which updates every two minutes.

“How will we be able to feed all these people who are being born? As you explore the crop adventure today, you’ll learn just how farmers are trying to do that,” he said.

Getting Grounded

Walking into the Battle Underground room feels like walking literally underground. The room is modeled with the curves and planes of what a cave dug out of the soil might feel like, complete with slugs and worms in the ceiling and roots dangling from above. Interactive stations let guests learn about underground pests, different types of soils and their qualities and how rain and water move through soil.

Farmers For The Win

As visitors leave the Battle Underground, they enter Winning in the Field. That area features exhibits about farming, from planting to harvest and grain storage, including a hands-on demonstration of how a grain elevator and bin storage works, with students loading large “kernels” of corn onto a conveyor, which takes the corn into a bin and drops it down. Touchscreen exhibits let guests move tractors and planters across a field and also identify disease-causing fungus under a microscope.

Guests leave the room to take a leisurely walk through “Farmington,” a village with shops and stores that sell everything a farmer — and a consumer — might need, including signs printed with soybean ink.

As they leave the Winfield Crop Adventure, modern and future technology is on display, including seed chipping machines and displays on GMOs. 

Jeannine Otto can be reached at 815-223-2558, ext. 211, or jotto@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Otto.  

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